morsla: (Default)
I'm back-dating this post using the magic of LJ timestamps - mostly because I go looking for oldening-related posts around Sep 12, and it's an easier place to find them. Also, because the world has been consumed by Interesting Times since last week, so I'm still catching up. Its actually Wednesday 17th when I'm writing this.

This year's birthday turned out to be something of a non-event. Ariadne and Louise have been sick, so by the time sunlight dawned on this bit of the world we had all been awake for many hours. That set the tone for the rest of the day: fighting against low energy levels to try and get through a busy day (of teaching, report-writing or daycare, depending on which family member you asked). By mid afternoon I was feeling particularly off colour, and as the evening closed I realised that I was probably coming down with something more than lack of sleep. It felt like food poisoning.

Stocking up on supplies, I settled in for a fairly painful weekend: trying to stay topped up on fluid and electrolytes despite violent objection from my stomach. From earlier cases, I figured it would take about three days to burn out. Then things started deteriorating further on Sunday night, with some excruciating abdominal pains and the discovery that my sleepless writhing had exhausted my core and back muscles, making it impossible to hold a posture that kept the pains at bay. Home remedies stopped working during the afternoon (hot bath, painkillers, etc), and I ended up paying a visit to the Royal Melbourne's Emergency Department at 10pm.

I figured it would be a late night when I went in: I wasn't bleeding or suffering anything broken, so I would be triaged right down the bottom of the list. Maybe two hours from that point, and another hour to see the triage nurse on admission. That guess was fairly accurate, but the doctor then wanted blood tests taken. Tests meant returning to the waiting room for a callback, and watching as the night suddenly got a lot busier with some serious emergency patients rushed through the doors. I didn't mind too much: by that stage I was medicated on painkillers that actually worked, and L & A had both gone home to bed. That long wait got longer, and longer still. I finally went over the test results at 5am, once the crises had been dealt with. Inconclusive results, no suggestion what was actually causing the pain. They sent me on my way with a handful of prescriptions, and told me to bunker down and wait it out at home. That's where I've been for the last three days.

I think I'm finally starting to mend now, though night time (and sleeping) are stil problematic. It's hard finding a non-painful way of lying for more than about 30min, which makes for a very restless night. The afternoon has been better than previous days though, so I'm hopeful that maybe I'll get a bit more rest tonight. Rest is healing, so they say. I could use a bit of that at the moment.

I've decided to postpone my birthday celebrations though, as last week was a write off. Maybe it's a sign that I should combine birthdays with [ profile] aeliel and just have one proper celebration later in the month...
morsla: (lain)
You know that you should write in your journal more often when last year's birthday post is still on the front page...

What's happened in the last year? Lots, actually. The kind of major changes that ought to happen over a much longer period of time, but rarely have the good grace to do so. When things happen, they all happen fast.

I started a new job in April. Part time at first, now full time, with a review next month. It's the first genuine "career" job I've had*, and will hopefully become a permanent position in the company after October. I can work on consulting projects that match up well with my thesis, people are genuinely interested in learning things from my research, and the company directors are serious about making me pick up all the various skills I'm missing. I'm doing a lot more client-facing work than I've ever done before. That's confronting and challenging, but ultimately very valuable. It's also completely changed my working week: early starts and late shifts when coordinating things with staff in India have played havoc with my body clock, calibrated as it was to a research student timetable.

Louise and I are expecting a baby. Much sooner than we thought 24 hours ago, in fact: The Day might be more like four weeks away now, instead of six. Louise has been having a rough time of things lately - developing gestational diabetes about a month ago, and starting on insulin today. Early detection and management are great, but the doctors are now making noises about needing a much earlier delivery. Those extra couple of weeks were going to involve a lot of frantic getting ready, which will now have to happen on top of all the other things we have going on at the moment.

Those things have meant that I'm still not finished my thesis. Not surprising, but disappointing. In particular, I needed to get a lot of work done before the baby arrives, but haven't had the energy to do anything at all after finishing work. However, I've been speaking at a few events now, and seem to have found my niche: understanding how networks of people work, to help explain all the fuzzy, hard-to-quantify benefits that go with being well connected. That's the heart of it. The ways people use bits of technology to make that easier are another layer on top - handy to understand for my current line of work, but understanding people is the key.

By this time next year, many parts of my life will probably be unrecogniseable. Without really knowing what to look forward to (or look out for), all I can really do is hold on, and see what happens.

* CSIRO doesn't really count. I thought it did, at the time, but being strung along on years of 6-month contracts isn't a career. It's an abusive relationship that you stick with because you think things will get better - ignoring the obvious signs that you're the only one who wants to make it work...
morsla: (cthonian elephant)
It's funny how traditions develop. We're surrounded by one-off occurrences all the time. If something is repeated, it might be coincidence - a little less random than the rest of our lives, but the pattern is still only half formed. Three times seems to be the magic number: it reinforces the repetition and confirms a pattern; not just for the event, but for the separation between it. And then the tradition is born.

Eight years ago, I started a tradition of pausing for a moment at this particular point in our orbit. Once more around the sun, a week and a half before the equinox. Mostly relevant to the large group of New Year's babies out there, of whom I've met many over the years.

I've doubled in age five times since I first celebrated one of these.

I got to work early today, hoping to get some writing done. This time next year, I'd like to have my thesis submitted and accepted - and be well on my way towards RMIT's giant whole-university graduation in November. In about half an hour, I'll wander over to the GSBL 'Shut up and write' group. That ought to get me started for the day, carving out another section of writing to work on this week.

After that, I'm going home to paint. I don't paint nearly as often as I would like to, these days. It's a combination of things - the PhD has eaten up my free time, and Mochason causes havoc if he gets into the study. I can paint in the evenings with the door closed, but that means not spending time with [ profile] aeliel after work. So, dust (and cat fur) builds up on my desk, and the pile of unpainted figures mock me. Not today, though.

Following a theme of "start as you mean to go on," I'll be spending a couple of hours at Kung Fu tonight. I think the rest of the class are getting ready for a grading next month, but I need to (re)learn a lot more before I'm ready to grade again. I'm not in any particular hurry. After all, it's been eleven years since my last grading...
morsla: (Dawn1)
I think this year has had a pretty good start so far...

[ profile] aeliel and I walked up the hill to the Quiet Man for a late breakfast, where we met [ profile] miss_rynn, [ profile] bishi_wannabe, [ profile] fetnas, [ profile] mousebane, Em, Will, Lon and Marion. Sharing a meal and a drink with some friends is quite possibly my favourite thing to do, and I'm glad to have had the company today :)

There's a birthday cake in the oven at the moment, making the whole house smell like chocolate. When it comes out, we're heading off for a family dinner. I sense a food theme running through my day...

So, what's been happening since last September?

I'm still at uni, and so is Louise. I'm about halfway through my PhD, getting through as many interviews as I can organise over the next couple of months. Louise is sitting opposite me at the moment, working away on a change management essay for her Masters. I'm trying to become a person who knows stuff, and who can use that stuff to help other people. I still love my research area, and will be giving a guest lecture for a Masters course at Swinburne next month.

We've now owned a house for a full year. By the time the Melbourne Cup starts up, we'll have been living here for a year as well. Some things still need doing - we never managed to get curtain rails attached (I suspect we need a hammer drill, as there's solid brick just behind the plasterboard), so the bedroom door is still covered with a drop sheet.

I never made it back to Tai Chi, as I had planned to do last year - leaving the house at 7am just hasn't worked out. I did join a gym, though, and I'm reasonably fitter than I have been for the past five years. I miss the mental aspect of training - learning new techniques, and finding applications for them. I don't know when I'll find the opportunity to go back, though.

For most of the last year, I've really noticed a general lack of spare time. It's forced a lot of changes on my routine, and my painting time has really suffered for it. I can't take on many commission jobs any more, and take months to complete any new project. My personal painting is improving - I've managed to win an award for almost everything I've painted this year. Personal projects happen very rarely, though, and I miss them.

I'd like to find some solutions to this lack of time, over the next year. Separating out some time for study, family time and personal time will be a good start. I'd like to exist in more states than "working" and "unconscious" by this time next year...
morsla: (Default)
It has been a hell of a year. For good or bad, it has been a year of defining events and decisions, that will shape the years to come. One thing is certain: I'm definitely feeling older than I did this time last year...

Dad passed away last September, not quite two weeks after my birthday. Louise and I decided to move down to Somerville in the new year, as Mum was now on her own in a large, mostly empty house.

In November, Louise and I got married in Blackwood. I think that the reception was probably the last time we've been able to spend time with you lot in any significant numbers, as we've been pretty quiet since then. Thinking back on the day still makes me smile, so I think we did okay.

In January we moved out of North Melbourne after five years, and headed down to Somerville. Weeks later I started my PhD, and began commuting back into the city each week... So far it's been keeping me busy. It's also been fascinating to work in a research role, instead of orbiting around other people's projects.

Some time between June and August, [ profile] aeliel and I bought an apartment in Kensington. It's not quite real yet, as we've only set foot inside it twice. However, next month the tenants will be moving out, and we'll finally be able to move in. I'm looking forward to living in the city again.

I don't know what the next year will hold. I'd like to think that it might involve things like spending more time with friends, getting back into training again, and rediscovering the secret to sleeping before 3am. If the past years are anything to go by, though, the only guarantee is that it will be a year marked by an ever-accelerating rate of change.

I have a pretty good idea of what tomorrow will be like, and a vague idea of where I'll be in a month. Beyond that, I'll just trust that all the change that's happened so far will help prepare me for whatever comes next.
morsla: (Dawn1)
On Saturday September 12th, I'm getting older. Significantly more than just one day older - it will be the start of a new decade, as I'm turning 30. To help me celebrate making it this far, I would love some company for lunch - after all, good food and good company are what the world is all about, right?

[ profile] aeliel and I will be in the Flagstaff Gardens from 1pm onwards. Bring yourself, some food or drink to share, and a picnic blanket if you have one. The Queen Vic Markets are just across the road, and it's close to trains and trams. It's also a pretty kid-friendly area - something that's become necessary when planning these things over the last year or so :)

There's a PDF map of the gardens here (how old fashioned!), or via Google Maps here. We're planning to be in the Northwest corner, though we may send a couple of people over to the BBQ area if anyone wants to cook something for lunch.

Please let me know if you can make it - either by leaving a comment here, or via email. (Edit: or Facebook...)

(Rainy day plans may involve a lot of swearing; some form of sacrifice to the rain gods, and a dash for shelter wherever we can find it...)
morsla: (Default)
Historically, September 12th seems to be a bad day to read the headlines. It's the day when Dubbya declared the War on Terror; when Hurricane Frederick demolished southern Alabama. Today, Sarah Palin is talking about going to war with Russia (to avoid another Cold War) if she becomes the US President.

It's not all doom though... Teenagers rediscovered the Lascaux caves in 1940. Lunik II became the first successful moon probe in 1959, and three years later JFK announced that the USA would win the space race and put a man on the moon,"not because they are easy, but because they are hard." It's also become something of a tradition for me to to write something on my birthday - pausing for a moment to take stock of another year.

So, what's happened over the last twelve months?

This time last year I was wading across a sandbar at Portballintrae, on the Irish coast. A month later I was back in Melbourne, and by the new year I was launching a business in earnest. I've been to five countries (and one state) that I'd never visited before, and then settled back down as something of a hermit after getting home. I've watched as friends have gotten married and started families, and I've started organising my own wedding. As [ profile] jilavre mentioned, "It's weird to be getting older. But I can't think of a bunch of people that I'd prefer to do it with."

Right at the moment, I'm trying to work out what I'll be doing in the immediate future. [ profile] aeliel leaves for France tomorrow, and I'll be spending most of the next few weeks back in Somerville. Dad has started feeling much worse over the last few days, so I'll only be back in Melbourne occasionally while Louise is away. I hope life is treating you well, wherever it has taken you lately.
morsla: (Dawn)
Once more around the sun, and all that...

Today's been exactly the right sort of quiet, so far. Since leaving the hostel, I've walked a few miles up the road to the Giant's Causeway, where I intend to spend most of the day. What better kind of birthday is there for a geology nerd?

If the weather holds, I'll try to push on towards Dunluce Castle in the west - if I walk all the way around the coast and back inland to Bushmills, it should be about 14km. There's a slate-grey sky to the northwest, but sunlight is starting to force its way through the clouds.

Right at the moment, I'm typing on possibly the only computer in this part of northern Ireland. I found it in a cafe near the Causeway, after giving up any hope of finding one before I return to Dublin. I think this is the furthest north I've ever been, and it's quite satisfying to know that I've come here on foot.

Anyway, enough typing - daylight's a precious thing out here, as I don't want to risk walking on the narrow roads after dusk. If you're a drinking sort (and most of us are, as dehydration's a terrible way to go) raise a glass, if you will - that way I won't feel quite so solitary having a wee dram on my own tonight. There's a ten year old single malt waiting for me when I get back to Bushmills, but today is all about wandering around on the clifftops.

morsla: (Default)
Irian, Indonesia (1979, September 12-13)
A number of earthquakes generated a series of tsunami that destroyed many low-lying coastal houses. The death toll was probably less than 100 people.
Tsunami case studies

I didn't do it. I swear.

I'm enjoying a quiet moment today - a pause, caught up amidst the chaos of the last few weeks. I'll venture outside soon enough, but for now it's been enough to fill my house with music and my head with books. I'm almost at the turning of the tide... half my day has been full of space, and soon the other half will fill with people. Balance in all things :)

I still have work to finish, but it can wait for tomorrow. Today is for remembering where I've been, and for wondering where I'm going. I've been a painter, a scientist and a sculptor. I'm slowly transmuting into a writer. I like pulling broken things apart, finding out how they work, and making them better. I play with colours, shapes and words. I've become comfortable in the knowledge that I will never be comfortable staying static.

Tomorrow, I have an interview for a job I haven't actually applied for. If it works out, I'll start designing books while I wind up my studies for the year. The company may take hours to reach from here, but if I've learned anything over the past twenty seven years, it's that I don't mind time alone with my thoughts.
morsla: (Default)
Twenty six years ago today, I was dragged out into the harsh lights of a hospital - very chubby, making lots of noise, and allergic to half the things on the planet. At least a few of these things have changed over the past decades...

I spent the first half of my weekend getting sick & miserable, making some phonecalls and text messages, and feeling down 'cause no-one replied. Then I grew up a little, realised that nobody else gets maudlin over a goddamn phone, and snapped out of it. Have to remember that other people have their own reasons for avoiding contact. I give no guarantees of rational thought when I have a head full of goo, though.

Unfortunately, I've landed [ profile] aeliel's virus... although I don't intend to miss a whole week of work, as I'm carefully tweaking my immune system to be as toxic as possible for any upstart microorganisms. Scorch the earth, salt the fields, and never surrender. When it works, I have a decent immune system. I intend to get it back up and running as soon as I can. Death to the invaders!

Caught up with some of the WATT (40k) crew over at Collingwood College on Sunday - still feeling quite groggy, but I crushed some orks in the club's campaign. Three games, and only one enemy model left on the table after the flames of the Inquisition. It's such a nice change playing the "good guys" for a change :) Setting fire to the Planetary Guard in Round #1? Ah, they were probably heretics, anyway. While getting some lunch in the school's Spring Fair, I heard the familiar sound of the Brandragon Morris Dancers out the front of the school. Small world innit?

I'm home sick today. I didn't get to bed until after midnight, and somehow woke up at 4am - haven't been back to sleep since. Thankyou to Anna and Lauren though - getting birthday messages out of the blue made my day :)

Right - back to the ginger and lemon tea.
morsla: (Default)
In the beginning, there was simply Before. No turbulence marred existence, as all things slowly took their forms.

As time passed, a new age was born. It was a time of becoming, while the world gathered its breath for what would come next. This time was known only as During.

Seasons passed, and the world changed again. Now, all existence hangs in space above the time known as Frantic. Within the coming age, all the preparations of earlier times shall find their purpose, and the world shall be devoid of sleep and spare time.

But it is not the end. Beyond this rushed time lies After - a time in which all Other Things shall be allowed to happen.

On Monday, Frantic begins. I have a full 15,000 words of thesis to write, many more references to find, and all my calculations still ahead of me. I think I can see through it, though - somewhere out in the mists lies the distant shores of After, when all the rest of my life is allowed to happen as it will.

In other news, my birthday thus far has been all 31 flavours of Awesome. Thanks to all those I've had a chance to catch up with... It's such a nice change to not be working on my birthday, too - probably only the second time this has happened since I turned 15.

September 2014

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